The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head.
Melchizedek was the King of Salem (later called Jerusalem) and a Priest of the Most High God. (Genesis 14:18) Never has there been another like him on Earth. The name means “King of Righteousness” leading some to believe that it was really a title, and that he was actually Shem, a son of Noah. Being one of only eight people who survived the Great Flood, Shem achieved the longevity of pre-flood humans and outlived eight of the next nine generations of patriarchs including Abraham, so the two could well have met. And it certainly makes sense that Shem would have been a revered figure, the only link they had to the pre-flood world and with first hand knowledge of their Creator to boot.
When Israel was organized as a nation in the Promised Land, God forbade anyone from the Royal family (Judah) from serving as a priest, and anyone from the priestly line of Levi to become a King. But in Zechariah 6 He had the High Priest Joshua act out a prophecy. Instructing that a crown be made and placed on Joshua’s head, the Lord said,
“Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the LORD. It is he who will build the temple of the LORD, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.” (Zech 6:12-13)
Whenever the word Branch appears capitalized in Scripture, it refers to the Messiah. It happens four times, each a foreshadowing of one of the Gospels. He’s called a King from David’s line in Jeremiah 23:5, pointing to Matthew where Jesus is presented as the Lion of Judah, Israel’s Davidic King. In Zechariah 3:8 He’s God’s servant, as Mark would later depict Him. In Zechariah 6:12 He’s a man, looking forward to Luke’s portrayal of Jesus as “The Son of Man” and in Isaiah 4:2 He’s Lord as He is in John’s gospel.
Priests didn’t rule, they didn’t sit on thrones, and they didn’t wear crowns. Only Kings did that. Zechariah’s prophecy previews the offices of Priest and King combined in one person, the Messiah. And the two words translated LORD and Lord in verse one of Psalm 110 are meant to show the Father conferring this royal priesthood on the Son, as Jesus Himself hinted in Matthew 22:41-45. Isaiah 60:6 tells of Him receiving gifts of gold and frankincense in the Millennium, symbolic of these two offices. (The additional gift of myrrh at His birth symbolized His church-age role as Prophet.)
There’s neither mention of Melchizedek’s ancestors nor his descendants in Scripture, so the writer of Hebrews describes Him as eternal, referring to Psalm 110 as he does. Hebrews 7 suggests Melchizedek as at least a type of Jesus. Because of this, some actually see in Melchizedek an Old Testament appearance of our Lord.
However you see Melchizedek, it’s important to know that our Lord Jesus will not be alone in this royal priesthood. In 1 Peter 2:9 the church is called a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Mere priests were not considered royalty. And in Revelation 5:10 (KJV) the newly raptured church praises God for making us kings and priests.
Whatever your station in life today, you are appointed to royalty, with all that entails. Will it include wealth, power and privilege? We can only apply earthly standards in guessing. But however it’s defined in Heaven, it’ll be yours and the experience will surpass your wildest imagination. Hang in there. You don’t have long to wait.